There are few things as peaceful and beautiful as snowfall. It may not always be convenient, but at least for the moment it is happening, it is a wonder filled event that always is mesmerizing to me. We had a good snow this past weekend, which, if the weather is typical, will be the last substantial one of the year. Unlike the poet Robert Frost, I was not in the woods nor was I on a horse, but I could imagine “watching his woods fill up with snow.” Who he is doesn’t matter, where doesn’t matter — snow is a in the moment kind of thing: it is to be experienced as it falls.
One day a number of years ago, I sat looking upwards out the window, watching the snow hurdle down from the sky to the sound of symphonies. Time left the equation as I concentrated completely on those tiny little ice crystals parachuting down to cover the lawn. Like the poet, it would be easy to get lost in the beauty of the crisp air and whirling snow. Unfortunately, we, like the aptly named Frost, often have “promises to keep/and many miles to go before [we] sleep.” It is easy to start worrying about the headaches that might come from the winter storm and miss the moment altogether.
The bad thing about snow is watching it melt. After blanketing the world in a clean white blanket, we are forced to look again on the old, dead grass and dirty streets. How nice it would be if underneath the snow was a purified and clean land, but, of course, it is not. It occurs to me how much a snowstorm is like God’s Grace.
The ancient prophet declared, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1.18, World English Bible). Unlike snow, however, the crimson does not come back — the snow does not melt. It is really purification rather than a facade of ice. Yet, like snow, it is often “inconvenient” — we have committed to follow God’s will rather than merely doing our own — and the beauty of Grace in action is lost as we worry about moving on to the next “important” project. At the very least, it takes skill that I have not yet mastered to truly stop and really take in what is happening every day thanks to God’s work in each of us. Rather than stopping to see the woods fill up with snow, I only see the many miles to go.
Taking the time to observe something as simple as snow allows us to truly seize on the wonder of God’s creation. Sometimes it takes spending time observing little things like this before bigger wonders can even be seen.